by Staff | Apr 24, 2013 | Filed under: News
Name: Teresa Smith de Cherif (I)
Community: Valencia County, El Cerro de Tomé
Occupation: Medical doctor, farmer and rancher
Education: Doctor of medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, 2002; master
of international affairs and certificate of the institute of African studies, Columbia
University, 1987; bachelor of arts, cum laude, Mount Holyoke College, 1983.
Previous political experience: Board member, Valencia Soil and Water Conservation
District, 2008 to present; diplomat, delegation of the government of Sao Tomé and
Príncipe (West Africa) to the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York,
Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a DWI? “No.”
Have you or your business ever filed for bankruptcy? “No.”
Are you up-to-date on your property taxes? “Yes.”
1. What qualifications, experience or education do you bring to this position?
“During my five years on the board, I have worked to serve all constituents. In 2008, I wrote a friends of
the court legal brief to support the residential ranching community of San Clemente. The brief was
accepted by the 13th Judicial District Court.
“In 2009, I provided consultation and strategy to a community within our district that is attempting to
fight the break up of agricultural preserve zoning within Valencia County. The strategy I suggested was
employed as the key argument in the community’s court battle and has prevailed, to date.
“I have been the chairwoman of the Rio Abajo Conservation subcommittee since 2010. I was one of the
first advisors to Meadow Lake residents who wanted to convert the abandoned and empty lake to a
sustainable park and recreation area for the community. I helped write legislation that was sponsored by
Sen. Michael Sanchez this year to fund the Bosque Ecosystem Monitoring Program.”
2. What is the district’s No. 1 short-term priority? How do you propose to accomplish that goal?
“I believe the district’s primary priority is to achieve sustainable and inclusive projects. Most districts
underwrite administrative costs through a mill levy, especially because budget cutbacks among federal,
state, and charitable funding sources eliminate these costs to awardees. To achieve sustainability and to
be able to expand services, we need help from the public through the quarter mill levy. These funds will
maintain our conservation programs, such as Whitfield and Rio Abajo, our bosque research, restoration,
and fuels reduction efforts, and leverage federal and state funds for cost share programs for local farmers
3. What does the district need to accomplish in the next four years and how will you be a part of
“We can achieve sustainable and inclusive projects by representing all constituents within the district in
an open and transparent fashion. I hope to continue to be of service to the people of the district and to
continue building harmonious community relations.
“I am committed to opening to the public our second conservation area, Rio Abajo, and hope that a
second term on the board will allow me this opportunity.”